Sell food from home in New Mexico, get a permit

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that a rule change will go into effect today that requires those who sell home-based food products to have a permit issued by the New Mexico Environment Department.

That permit will allow the sale of certain foods that can be prepared in home-based food processing operations within state jurisdiction. Those foods include yeast and quick breads, cookies, cakes, tortillas, high-sugar pies and pastries, high-sugar jam and jellies, dry mixes (made from commercial ingredients), candy and fudge. Those foods do not support the rapid and progressive growth of infectious and toxicogenic microorganisms, including Clostridium botulinium, responsible for foodborne disease.

The food permit costs $100 a year. To obtain a permit to operate, a seller can submit an application to a local NMED field office. The application package is available at or at your local NMED field office.

As Ben and Brae wrote in the Wisconsin State Journal back in March, 2006, leave the umpires in the field — the health inspectors who make sure everybody plays by the rules. In this game we need to get along so it doesn’t leave a nasty and sometimes lethal taste in the mouths of players or spectators.

Seaweed, straight from the drainage ditch, leads to citation for Hawaiian Chinatown store

Ogonori, also called ogo or sea moss, is a type of edible seaweed eaten along the coasts of Japan, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Ogonori is typically eaten cold and, for the up-and-coming microbiologists in the crowd who have spent hours autoclaving, ogo is a source of the thickener agar.

Apparently it’s easy to find – in Hawaii.

A seafood and produce store in Chinatown was cited by a Department of Health sanitarian Friday after a KHON2 report showed a man picking ogo from a drainage canal at Ala Moana Beach Park and then selling it to the owner of the business.

A Sanitation Branch inspector cited Cruzzette Store owner Felicidad Dela Cruz for purchasing ogo from an “unapproved source.”  Dela Cruz faced a fine of up to $1,000 a day had she continued to purchase ogo from the man captured on Thursday’s video by KHON2.

“She said that if somebody gonna get sick it will be my fault,” said Dela Cruz, as she described her conversation with the health inspector.

When asked what she had learned about food safety, Dela Cruz was quick to reply.

 “To know where my product (is) coming from and to be safe,” she said in broken English.  “I don’t want anybody get sick.”

Should bake sales be regulated?

Some students groups are upset after the University of Nebraska at Omaha banned the sale of homemade baked goods on campus.

UNO officials said the ban was put in place due to concerns about food allergies and contaminated food, although there had been no reports of contamination.

While such bans, along with similar attempts to inspect church pot-lucks and other community-based initiatives may seem heavy-handed, the potential for sick people and subsequent liability cannot be ignored.

Anyone who serves, prepares or handles food, in a restaurant, nursing home, day care center, supermarket, local market or yes, even  for a bake sale, needs some basic food safety training. And health inspectors are there to provide some minimal oversight.